1. continually faultfinding, complaining, or petulant: a nagging parent.
  2. persistently recurring; unrelenting: a nagging backache.

verb (used with object), nagged, nag·ging.

  1. to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands.
  2. to keep in a state of troubled awareness or anxiety, as a recurrent pain or problem: She had certain misgivings that nagged her.

verb (used without object), nagged, nag·ging.

  1. to find fault or complain in an irritating, wearisome, or relentless manner (often followed by at): If they start nagging at each other, I’m going home.
  2. to cause pain, discomfort, distress, depression, etc. (often followed by at): This headache has been nagging at me all day.


  1. Also nagger. a person who nags, especially habitually.
  2. an act or instance of nagging.

verb nags, nagging or nagged

  1. to scold or annoy constantly
  2. (when intr, often foll by at) to be a constant source of discomfort or worry (to)toothache nagged him all day


  1. a person, esp a woman, who nags


  1. often derogatory a horse
  2. a small riding horse

v.“annoy by scolding,” 1828, originally a dialectal word meaning “to gnaw” (1825), probably ultimately from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse gnaga “to complain,” literally “to bite, gnaw,” dialectal Swedish and Norwegian nagga “to gnaw”), from Proto-Germanic *gnagan, related to Old English gnagan “to gnaw” (see gnaw). Related: Nagged; nagger; nagging. n.“old horse,” c.1400, nagge “small riding horse,” of unknown origin, perhaps related to Dutch negge, neg (but these are more recent than the English word), perhaps related in either case to imitative neigh. Term of abuse is a transferred sense, first recorded 1590s.

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